DAY 3 - Nichols receives high praise
Aug. 11, 2010
Aaron Nichols has earned a reputation for delivering highlights during practice sessions throughout his career. Following a successful 2009 season in which he produced nearly every time he set foot on the field Nichols, a fifth-year senior, is fighting for a starting spot. Wednesday's practice was more of the same as he continues to make play after play while splitting time between the first and second team.
"There are guys who just don't surprise you when they make a play and Aaron Nichols is one of those guys," head coach Mike Riley said. "He's so consistent at everything he does. He plays all three (receiver) positions, he plays on almost all of our special teams. He's just a fabulous player."
Nichols wasn't the only Oregon State player to earn attention Wednesday ... Johnny Hekker was announced as one of seven players on the initial Ray Guy Award Watch List, given annually to the nation's top punter. In addition, James Rodgers has been selected as a member of the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to the nation's top receiver.
On the field, Ryan Katz continues to display a strong arm as well as a willingness to run when given the opportunity. Early on during 11-on-11, Katz found James Rodgers behind the secondary, which is fast becoming a common connection for the Beavers' first team offense. Katz's mobility was again on display shortly after when he rolled to the other side and threw a dart to Aaron Nichols, who made a nice catch along the sideline.
Parts of the two-minute offense were installed Wednesday and practice concluded with "Red Ball" (OSU's 11-on-11, two-minute drill). Katz directed a mostly successful drive culminating in a score. Cody Vaz drove the second team down the field before senior safety Suaesi Tuimaunei ended the drive when he anticipated a pass and intercepted it. Jack Lomax finished with the third string hitting Kevan Walker, who outran the defense to paydirt.
"That was pretty good work. I thought they made some good plays, some good catches and a nice interception by Suaesi. I think it's good to get back into focus at the end of practice. The drill actually looked pretty good for the third day of practice. We made more progress and we got a lot more stuff installed today."
Mike Riley's crew had another visitor at practice today with former OSU and longtime Oregon assistant coach Neal Zoumboukos stopping in.
Tonight's team building activity is "Home Run Derby." A game designed by assistant coach Jay Locey, and experimented with by office staffers Dan Van De Riet, Ryan Gunderson and Jay Harbaugh. The Beavers will be broken into teams and given one swing at a tennis ball with a racquet from the sideline at Reser Stadium. Points will be given to each team based on distance with moon shots to the upper deck worth 10 points ... We've been assured the upper deck is within reach, but barely.